January 7, 2016 6:43 pm
Updated: January 8, 2016 7:15 am

Roundabout conversion can save lives at Highway 11 intersection

WATCH ABOVE: In the wake of the fatal traffic crash that claimed the lives of four family members, officials consider safety options. Jacqueline Wilson talks to the experts about the possibility of highway roundabouts to minimize the dangers at certain intersections.

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SASKATOON – It has been five days since the tragic fatal collision at Highway 11 and Wanuskewin Road. Despite the drunk driving charges laid in that case, many in the community are frustrated with the dangerous intersection.

“At least 85 per cent of all collisions are preventable; therefore, they aren’t accidents.  They are preventable collisions and it’s at least 85. This was preventable,” said Saskatoon and District Safety Council member Al Reichert.

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READ MORE: Saskatoon family reeling after fatal crash claims four lives

SGI statistics show 38 collisions have occurred at the intersection of Highway 11 and Wanuskewin Road between 2006 to 2014. Thirty people have been injured and three killed.

But what can be done to put an end to the collisions? Al Reiker from the Saskatoon and District Safety Council believes a roundabout is the solution.

“What you have is no traffic intersecting. It’s merging but it does not intersect. From the point of view of crash statistics there is going to be a lot less damage”

The Transportation Research Board in Washington, DC did a study on the safety effects of roundabout conversions and found the following:

  • 90 per cent reduction in fatalities;
  • 80 per cent reduction in injuries;
  • 40 per cent reduction in total number of collisions.

“At an intersection of a two-lane undivided highway and a four-lane divided highway there’s 42 points in that intersection where there is potential of a collision. A roundabout reduces that to eight,” says Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure executive director Doug Wakabayashi.

Wakabayashi explains a traffic analysis will need to be done to determine if a roundabout is the best solution for the intersection in the short term. There are future plans for an overpass nearby.

“At some point in time as the Saskatoon freeway is built that intersection with be closed and converted; either closed entirely or to right turns only.”

In the meantime, the ministry will look into more immediate improvements like enhanced signage, pavement markings and lighting at Highway 11 and Wanuskewin Road.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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